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Editorial: Obama wins on health care issue

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- including President Obama -- got a big win Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the law, including the individual mandate, as "constitutional."

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While it was a 5-4 split vote, the majority ruling was written by Republican-appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The court majority ruled that the law was constitutional under the tax powers of Congress. The law requires that those who do not purchase health insurance will pay a penalty, which the court considers a tax.

The ironic part of the individual mandate is that it was conceived as a Republican idea and included in the bill as a Congressional compromise. Now it has been ruled constitutional.

The first result of this ruling is that this health care law now can move forward toward implementation, bringing insurance coverage in 2014 to about 30 million of the 50 million uninsured Americans.

The second result is the ruling brings court vindication and a political victory to President Obama and congressional Democrats. This ruling certainly will play a role in Obama's re-election campaign.

The third result is the ruling will impact the Republican efforts to elect Mitt Romney as the next president. The Romney campaign claimed to have raised more than $300,000 in political contributions Thursday alone. At the same time, the Republican suffered a political loss as the Supreme Court upheld the health care law.

Politically both sides will claim victory and continue the poisoned rhetoric for and against the health care law all the way through November. The Republican-led House has scheduled a July 11 vote to repeal the health care act. This is largely symbolic as it has virtually no chance of passing the Democrat-led Senate in 2012.

The final political win will be determined by Americans at the Nov. 6 ballot box, when the presidential race and congressional majorities will be decided.

The reality now is that the majority of Obama's health care reform law has been upheld. The Supreme Court has fulfilled its responsibility in ruling upon the constitutionality of the law in in its current form.

This law may not be not perfect in its current form, as it still leaves more than 25 million American without coverage. There is also significant concern among individuals and businesses concerning the future cost of the law.

Congress has the final authority to amend the law in order to improve it or even repeal it.

Each American will have the opportunity in November to weigh in with their opinion. The question is how all Americans will react as they weigh their concerns about the health care law against the various benefits of the law.

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